Low-grade central osteosarcoma is an uncommon form that is characterized by a long premorbid history, and is compatible with prolonged survival after treatment. However, molecular abnormalities are rare in low-grade central osteosarcomas, whereas p53 mutations occur in approximately 20% of conventional high-grade osteosarcomas. In this study, 21 cases of low-grade central osteosarcoma were analyzed for mutations of the p53 gene, amplification of the MDM2 gene, and mutations of the H-ras gene using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded materials. We also examined the expression of p53, MDM2, and p21WAF1 protein immunohistochemically and assessed the proliferation activities using the monoclonal antibody MIB-1. One case (4.7%) showed strong p53 immunoreactivity, whereas p53 gene mutations were not detected at all. Seven cases (33.3%) showed immunoreactivity for MDM2 protein. As for gene alterations, MDM2 amplification was found in four cases (19.0%). p21WAF1 expression was detected in 12 cases (57.1%). MIB-1-LI showed very low levels in all the cases and no significant correlation with p53 or MDM2 immuno-reactivity. None of the tumors showed H-ras mutations. In conclusion, the number of p53 gene alterations in low-grade central osteosarcomas is lower than that in conventional high-grade osteosarcomas. MDM2 alterations and p21WAF1 expression might be involved in the tumorigenesis of low-grade central osteosarcomas.